Corbin's homecoming includes Fan Cave visit

Corbin's homecoming includes Fan Cave visit

NEW YORK -- It seems like every other word Patrick Corbin says is "compete."

That's what the D-backs' newest pitcher learned growing up in New York and emulating his favorite player, Yankees legend Andy Pettitte. Now, Corbin has just been called up and thrown into battle at almost the same time that the "other" No. 46 is close to his own call-up again.

"I think just the way he brought himself up and treated himself on the mound and everything like that," Corbin said of Pettitte's influence. "He always went out there and competed every day, worked hard, and never took anything for granted. I think that's the way to kind of grow up doing everything, and baseball as well. Just going out there, working hard, trying to compete and do your best.

"I feel like I'm going to go out there and compete and work hard and never give excuses out there. Just always go out there and learn every day, talk to the veterans, and try to get better. Every day you have an opportunity to get better, and that's what I'm here to do."

Corbin competed enough in his Major League debut Monday against the Marlins to overcome a bases-loaded jam in the first inning and record his first win. After pitching opposite Mark Buehrle in that outing, Corbin now faces another lefty with long credentials, Johan Santana. It's a 4:05 p.m. ET start on Saturday at Citi Field and it will feel like a homecoming for the 22-year-old rookie.

Corbin will have about 50 family and friends in the crowd, parents Dan and Patty leading the way, all of them sitting in the "Cloud Nine" section. Their son visited the MLB Fan Cave along with teammate J.J. Putz on Friday, and then was planning to meet up with his entourage from upstate later in the evening. The whirlwind continues for the kid from Cicero-North Syracuse High, a dream come true and it came true straight out of Double-A.

"It's definitely awesome," Corbin said, sitting in the large, gilded throne by the 15-screen Cave Monster. "Second start coming up tomorrow, glad to come back home a little bit closer so the family and friends can see me. I'm definitely excited to see them all.

"They're all proud of me, and that's a great feeling for them, I'm sure. I just want to go out there and show them that I'm proud of them as well, for supporting me throughout my career, as long as my career lasts."

If his first outing was any indicator, it could last a while.

"Facing those two (Buehrle and Santana), I guess it's a little tough of a challenge, but I think I'm ready for it and I just want to go out there," Corbin said. "In my first game, I got bases loaded with one out in the first inning, got that double play to get out of it, kind of gave me a deep breath. I recovered and was like, 'OK, maybe I can get by this.'"

He never gave up another hit until the fifth inning of that start, finally tiring amid the absolute rush.

It all started with the phone call, while he was at the Holiday Inn in Chattanooga, Tenn., team hotel for the D-backs' Double-A Mobile affiliate in the Southern League. The voice was his skipper, Turner Ward, telling him he was going up to The Show.

"It was awesome. I got the phone call, he said pack your bags, you just got called up," Corbin recalled. "I kind of took a second, got my breath -- a very exciting moment for me. I called my family and parents and all of my friends, they were excited, and I told them you better get out to Miami and watch me pitch."

They were there in a heartbeat. Coming down to New York was a bit easier.

"It's great," Putz said as he sat next to the youngster. "I remember my first call-up was to Cleveland (2003), and then I came to New York for my second leg of the trip. It's kind of like he came to Miami for his and then he's here for his second leg of the trip. It's exciting.

"He's a pretty mellow kid, so he can handle what's going on. It's definitely special, and I'm sure it's going to be exciting for him being from this area."

Corbin said he was not really surprised about skipping Triple-A.

"Maybe not so much, just because they wanted to keep the four of us pitchers together at Double-A," he said. "We understood. I mean, we knew there was nothing wrong going back there. We knew we pitched well last year, and then (at) Spring Training. You're always one phone call away, so you just have to go out there and compete every day, and then when you get that call, just show them that they made the right decision to bring you up."

What is one thing D-backs fan might want to know about him?

"Big basketball guy, I played a year in college basketball," said Corbin, whose sister Kelly played on the Cicero-North Syracuse basketball team that won state this year, and he played there as well. "I love it, miss it a lot, but I knew baseball was probably going to be a bigger future for me."

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.